When you are running a business, it can be difficult to juggle everything! That is why hiring an Amazon Virtual Assistant may be the right decision to help you handle your store.
These virtual assistants can take care of some tasks that would otherwise need to be handled by you – taking a lot of energy away from more important responsibilities.
Wondering what an Amazon Virtual Assistant can help you with?
This blog will discuss a wide range of topics. I thoroughly go over what an Amazon Virtual Assistant is and what they can do, the benefits of having one, my method of screening candidates and hiring, what to look for in a virtual assistant, and best practices once they’re hired!
What is an Amazon Virtual Assistant?
An Amazon Virtual Assistant (Amazon VA) is a remote worker hired online to help sellers manage their store(s). Outsourcing can save sellers money, time, and promote a healthy work-life balance.
A virtual assistant can be from any country, but I hire from the Philippines because of competitive rates, their hard-working traits, and their good communication.
“No company can expect to beat the competition unless it has the best human capital and promotes these people to pivotal positions. Topgrading is the definitive manual for becoming an A-player and for recognizing those traits in others.” — Larry A. Bossidy
Tasks an Amazon Virtual Assistant Can Handle For You
Hiring the right people can make all the difference for your business.
An Amazon Virtual Assistant can help you with a variety of tasks, freeing up your time to focus on other important responsibilities, like growing your business and taking it to the next level!
What kind of tasks do you need help with?
Some of the tasks an Amazon VA can handle for you include (but are not limited to):
- Product research
- Product sourcing
- Listing creation
- Order management & logistics
- Market analysis
- Data entry
- Product Returns & Exchanges
- Inventory management & FBA shipment plans
- Coupons & Promotions
- PPC and Advertising
- Handle reimbursements
- Customer service
- Social media marketing
- Account management and monitoring
Be aware that there are virtual assistants who do general and administrative tasks, but there are also specialized virtual assistants who have expertise with a certain skillset.
For example, an Amazon virtual assistant who specializes in graphic design can be responsible just for creating A+ content for your product listings, social media posts, and similar tasks.
Because of these differences, hourly rates typically tend to vary depending on the responsibilities of the position.
Personally, I like to hire general virtual assistants and invest my time in training them for specific skills that I need in my business. This way, I can have the best of both worlds!
Benefits of Hiring an Amazon Virtual Assistant
You can easily hire someone to work alongside you in a physical setting, but if they would be doing their tasks on a computer just like a VA, then hiring a virtual assistant from another country is a fraction of the cost of an American worker’s salary.
You will also be making a big difference in their life because they will be earning more than they would be if they were employed by a company in their home country.
Rates vary because they depend on how much you and the applicant discuss, how much you are willing to pay, or how much the applicant is asking for as starting pay.
Having someone to help you with your tasks can allow you to focus on more important responsibilities, like how to grow your business!
Working as a team will make you able to get more done in one day than you would if you were doing it all by yourself, saving you time and stress.
As a business owner, you juggle many responsibilities, and it’s very difficult to give equal attention to all of them! There may be some areas that you struggle in, and a virtual assistant who specializes in certain skills can help.
Oftentimes, these are tasks that require accuracy, such as data entry, calculations, research, and more.
Outsourcing the tasks that don’t need to be done by you can save you from costly mistakes. A VA has the time and attention span to focus on them, which makes them deliver great results.
When you remove from your plate the tasks that can be outsourced, you can focus on what your strengths are!
How My Funnel Process Can Help You Hire the Best VA
After working with several virtual assistants for over 10 years, I can say I have made some mistakes along the way. I have had to tweak and refine my hiring process several times until I came to this effective system.
I am eager to share with you my method of hiring after all the experiences that I learned from. Now, I am confident enough to say it works!
Where I Post Job Openings
Be aware that I only have experience working with Filipino virtual assistants and not other nationalities, so the experience may be different for each because of cultural differences.
Others hire from freelancer sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and the likes.
What To Include in a Job Description
Make sure you include the following when you write a job description:
- What Are the Job Requirements and Skills Needed?
- Hourly Rate
- Instructions On How to Properly Apply
What Are the Job Requirements and Skills Needed?
Indicate the requirements and skills that are a must and what are just a plus, because if it appears that everything is mandatory, it can prevent some really good candidates from applying!
That is just covering the technical requirements and skills that the candidate will read in the job description. As an employer, you should also think about the personality traits that you want your VA to have because those traits are how you will build the foundation of your working relationship together.
Above any technical requirements or skills, I look for three important traits, which are the ability to follow instructions, good communication, and eagerness to work.
I highly recommend that you look for those traits as well, because it has proven to work for me in hiring my VAs.
You can determine if candidates possess these traits by following my process of screening candidates, which I explain with examples in the following sections.
Hourly rates for virtual assistants from the Philippines can be different based on the focus of their tasks, and I suggest you research the average rate when you’re ready to start hiring.
You ultimately know and decide how much you are willing to (and can afford to) pay for a virtual assistant. By including the hourly rate in your job description, you are already easily filtering out applicants who won’t take interest in the opportunity.
This saves you time and disappointment from having to interview a great applicant then learning that they do not agree to the maximum rate you are willing to pay for a starting position.
If you are planning to give bonuses and pay raises, I recommend including them in the job description, because it motivates applicants to work hard from the very start.
Instructions on How to Properly Apply
Of all of the suggestions on what to include in a job description, this is the most important because it is how you will screen the attentiveness of applicants.
Here is an example of how I have screened applicants following instructions:
HOW TO APPLY:
- Send an email to [[email protected]] with the exact subject line “Applying to the VA Position”. All applications that don’t use this exact phrase will be screened out.
- Please tell us why we should hire you in that email
- Complete the Google Form you will receive in an email (see note below)
NOTE: After you send the email, you will receive a response from me with a link to a Google Form. Please complete the questions in the Google Form. Forms that are not completed or only partially complete will not be considered for this position.
I recommend that you create a separate email address for a hiring process so that you won’t accidentally overlook your other important emails if applicants’ emails get mixed with them in your inbox.
In the next section, we will teach you how to filter out the applicants who have not applied in the specific way you have requested.
My Method of Screening Candidates
In the above section, you’ve seen that I have requested that interested applicants apply through email with a very specific Subject Line. Screening out candidates who don’t follow instructions benefits both you and the right applicants.
Many applicants rush through reading a job description. Because of this, they may reach out via message on the job site, message on LinkedIn, and other incorrect ways. This shows you early on that they can make seemingly small mistakes that can have a big negative impact where it matters in your business.
On the other hand, it benefits the right applicants by keeping employers organized, giving you time and energy to show genuine attention to the applicants who deserve it.
Read further to see how I further screen candidates.
Setting Up a Google Form
This is a way to see their determination in applying.
You will be surprised to find out how many applicants fail to continue their application by simply answering a questionnaire that gives you more information on who they are, which is important for them to share with any employer!
You can read about how to set up a Google Form here.
- Questions to ask
It is up to you to figure out what kinds of questions you want to ask, but I personally include this:
- Take a typing test
- Please test your internet connection speed online
- Use Lightshot to take screenshots for the typing test and internet speed test, and post the screenshot links in the form
- Questions about certain aspects of the job (such as available working hours, asking hourly rate, their experience, communication methods like Skype, etc.)
I ask them to specifically use Lightshot links when providing screenshots to further test their ability to follow simple instructions. I also provide a sample screenshot to make sure that it is easy to understand.
Through this, you will also have the opportunity to know their internet connection speed. I favor a neutral candidate with a good connection over a stronger candidate with a slow connection.
The benefit of using Google Forms is that they provide a Google Sheet to view all answers on one page. It keeps their personal information organized, and allows me to highlight applicants in different colors for me to indicate how strong of a candidate each of them is.
- Testing of skills
You may test skills however it suits your business best, but in the past, I have screened applicants based on how well they can follow instructions in collecting data.
I have asked them to create a spreadsheet and even provided screen recordings to guide them.
The Sourcing Monster YouTube channel has a tutorial, The Complete Guide on How To Use A VA For Amazon FBA Business, in which I help you follow my entire hiring process.
Create a Template for Automated Emails
You can receive hundreds of applications, and give up on the entire hiring process if you get overwhelmed. Creating a template for automated emails for candidates who follow instructions can save you so much time.
- On Gmail, click on the Settings wheel on the upper right corner of your screen.
- Click on the blue “See all settings” button.
- In the criteria on top, click on Advanced and look for Templates. Click Enable on Templates. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
- Compose a new email with whatever you would like to communicate to a candidate who is moving to the next stage of the hiring process. Include here the link to the Google Form.
- Click on the three vertical dots (More Options) next to the trash bin on the bottom right of the composer.
- Hover over Templates, hover over Save Draft as Template, and click on Save as New Template.
- Enter the name of the template and click Save.
Create a Filter that Triggers the Automated Emails
With the specific subject line you have provided in the job description, you can use it to your advantage to search for the exact term in the search bar of your Gmail. This way, you only view the candidates who followed instructions, and you can disregard those who didn’t.
- Search for the specific term you asked applicants to include in their subject line
- Click on the three switches (Search Options) next to the X on the search bar, and it will show several filters.
- Click on Create a Filter (it is next to the blue Search button)
- “When a message is an exact match for your search criteria:” will appear. Check the box next to Send a Template and choose from the dropdown the template you have just created that includes the Google Form.
- Click on the blue Create Filter button to filter candidates and automate emails.
From there, candidates who follow your specific instructions get contacted automatically, saving you a lot of time. I then check their questionnaire answers in the Google Form and using the Google Sheet that is provided, I easily find their contact info and schedule an interview.
What I Look For in an Amazon Virtual Assistant
As I have mentioned earlier, there are three main traits I look for in a virtual assistant, and they are evident in everything I have talked about so far. Because the presence of these three traits opens the door for more positive traits and skills to be developed.
It’s important to focus on these traits that can build a long-term working relationship because this is how your business will grow, and how you will be able to create a difference in each other’s lives.
All the time, I’m looking for:
An applicant who knows how to follow instructions
Their potential to learn is endless. Even without specific experience in certain areas of the job, you will be able to train them with fewer headaches.
Of course, you have a responsibility to try your best to give instructions that are simple enough to follow. It is in that simplicity where you will see if an applicant listens well, is alert, and pays attention.
An applicant who communicates well
You both understand each other better and each other’s expectations while working together. You can talk about more than just work, grow together, and learn from each other. Clear communication will help mend any misunderstandings.
An applicant who is eager to work
This trait means they are motivated and have the right attitude towards work. This type of person is more likely to take initiative to put in the extra effort needed and take ownership of their work without needing instructions for every little detail.
Why do I say so?
In my opinion, applicants need to have these three traits because of how it will allow you as a manager to trust them with tasks more easily. Even if there is a lack of specific technical skills, it is not a problem, because these three traits displayed their potential to reach your expectations for the role.
Best Practices While Working With an Amazon Virtual Assistant
- Establish a good, respectful relationship with them
- Create an environment that encourages the VA to work with you long term
- Give them full training so they understand your expectations. Otherwise, you will not see their full potential, because they are still accustomed to a system working for a different employer.
- Create training videos where it is relevant to save time from training each individual
- Be welcoming to their questions and open-minded to suggestions
- Give them time to adjust to the role
- Hire more than one VA for a one or two-week paid trial period to observe how fast they learn, their communication, and their eagerness to work. Then retain the VA who performs better.
- Be open-minded to flexibility. Your VA will most likely be working the graveyard shift, and if you can adjust their hours to something more comfortable for them without it affecting your operations, give it a try!
This guide should help you find the perfect Amazon Virtual Assistant to take some of your workloads off your plate. I hope my method proves to be valuable for you and makes the hiring process much more encouraging.
Whether it’s creating a system, giving you tips and tricks, or making sure you’re aware of the latest tools to succeed — the Sourcing Monster blog can help you do it right.
Are you still a little stuck on how to handle the hiring process?
Reach out or leave a comment, I’d love to answer your questions about finding the right virtual assistant for you!